A group of scientists has been left baffled after detecting four mysterious objects in deep space that are said to be, “unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.”
There is something unusual swarming in the depths of space. Astronomers have discovered four faint objects that are circular in radius and glow at their edges.
These are astronomical objects of an unknown class, never before reported by astronomers.
The objects, which look like distant ringed islands, have been dubbed “rare radio circles.”
For brevity, and lacking an explanation for their origins, we dub these objects “Odd Radio Circles”, or ORCs, researchers explain.
Experts don’t yet know exactly how far away these ORCs are but they could be related to distant galaxies.
All objects were found outside the galactic plane.
In the new study detailing the discovery, astronomers offer several possible explanations, though none seem to entirely explain all four ORCs.
After ruling out that they were supernovae, galaxies with forming stars, planetary nebulae, and gravitational lenses – the magnification effect generated by space-time folded by massive objects – among other things, they speculate that the objects could be distant shockwaves, left behind by an extragalactic event or possible activity from a radio galaxy.
However, the ORCs could also be parts of an already known cosmic phenomenon that has not been explored in depth by astronomers.
The recently discovered objects are a very exciting discovery.
For one, the existence of the ORCs tells us that there are numerous mysteries in the universe that still await discovery. The recent find tells us that although we’ve made great progress in exploring our galaxy and the universe in general, we are far from knowing it all.
Furthermore, the ORCs are a very interesting kind of object in the universe, one that we have never before encountered, and that makes them extremely appealing in scientific terms.
For someone who isn’t a scientist but a regular blogger, this discovery is very exciting, mostly because we don’t need aliens or UFOs to get excited about our cosmic neighborhood and outer space. We’ve got plenty of astronomical phenomenon out there that make the universe a very interesting place.
What we know
All four ORCs are bright at radio wavelengths but invisible in visible, infrared, or X-ray light. But two of these have galaxies at their centers at visible wavelengths, suggesting that these could at least have formed in those galaxies. Two of the ORCs also appear very close to each other, which means that it is possible that they are related in origin.
Astronomers detected three of the objects while they were mapping the night sky at radio frequencies, as part of a pilot survey for a new project called the Evolutionary Map of the Universe (EMU). EMU used ASKAP, a radio telescope array located at the Murchison Radio Astronomy Observatory in the Midwest of Australia, from July to November 2019. This radio telescope uses 36 dish antennas that work together to obtain a wide-angle view of the sky.
The fourth ORC was found in archival data collected by the giant MetreWave radio telescope in India. The latter helped astronomers confirm that the objects were real and not an ASKAP anomaly.
But with only four of these peculiar objects discovered so far, experts barely know anything about the true nature of these formations. Luckily, the EMU survey is in its infancy, so more data is expected to emerge to help solve the mystery.
Whatever the case, discovering a new cosmic phenomenon is very exciting, and this means that mankind is still in its infancy when it comes down to exploring the cosmos and understanding our place in the vastness of the universe.
The research paper is currently available on the preprint site arXiv and has been submitted for publication to the journal Nature Astronomy.